Disclaimer labels on fashion magazine advertisements: Does timing of digital alteration information matter?
Slater, Amy Elise
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The study aimed to investigate whether a message informing readers about digital alteration read before exposure to thin ideal advertisements would enhance the effectiveness of disclaimer labels. Participants were 280 female undergraduate students who viewed eleven thin ideal fashion magazine advertisements. Half viewed the advertisements in their original format, and half viewed the same advertisements with a digital alteration disclaimer label. Prior to viewing the advertisements, participants read either a brief message informing them that advertisements are commonly digitally altered, or a control message. Irrespective of experimental condition, exposure to the thin ideal advertisements led to increased body dissatisfaction, with social comparison predicting this increase. Neither the disclaimer label nor the pre-exposure message, nor their combination, led to reductions in perceived realism, social comparison, or body dissatisfaction. However, trait appearance comparison moderated the effect of pre-exposure message on perceived realism, such that women high on trait appearance comparison in the digital alteration pre-exposure message condition rated the models as relatively more realistic than did women low on this trait. It was concluded that more research is needed to identify brief and easy-to-implement universal prevention strategies that can reduce the negative effects of thin ideal media imagery on women's body image.